Sunday, January 31, 2016

Astronomers: Far know, Near don't know...

Astronomers discover largest solar system

BBC reported a couple of days ago that astronomers have discovered the largest known solar system, consisting of a large planet that takes nearly a million years to orbit its star.
The gas giant is said to be one trillion kilometres away, making its orbit 140 times wider than Pluto's path around our Sun.
Yet, on the other hand, astronomers are not even certain if the report that a giant planet might be lurking in our solar system is true. How ironic!
The following has also just come from The Economist:
The Ninth Planet in our Solar System?

“THE past two decades have seen astronomers’ catalogue of planets expand over two-hundredfold, as new techniques and better telescopes have found more than 2,000 of them orbiting stars other than the sun. But in the solar system itself, the list of planets has actually shrunk—Pluto having been downgraded from that status in 2006. The number of the sun’s planetary companions has thus fallen from nine to eight.
“Now, a pair of astronomers from the California Institute of Technology think they have evidence that will restore the sun’s tally to its previous value. Their analysis of objects orbiting in the Kuiper Belt, a ring of frozen asteroids that circle beyond the orbit of Neptune (and of which Pluto is now regarded as the largest member), suggests to them that something about ten times as massive as Earth has distorted those orbits. If you knew where to look, this planet-sized object would be visible through a suitable telescope. And Konstanin Batygin and Michael Brown believe they do know.”

Are astronomers generally a bunch of humbugs?

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